Telecoms provider O2 plans to roll out its 5G network in parts of the UK later this year, with a host of cities set to benefit from next-generation mobile broadband.
5G services will launch in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast. Other areas of the UK will receive 5G services from 2020 to coincide with the wider availability of 5G handsets, the company announced.
The rollout follows similar announcements from Three, which confirmed its 5G network plans in November 2018. The firm committed £2 billion to support the rollout of its commercial 5G mobile and ultrafast home broadband network in the latter half of 2019.
EE and Vodafone also have network upgrade plans scheduled for 2019. Edinburgh was also selected by EE as one of six cities to take part in the first phase of its 5G network launch.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity, which will provide far greater download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections for users.
Mark Evans, CEO of Telefonica UK, commented: “5G is a promise of so much more – for consumers, business, industry and public services.
“5G will benefit customers from launch with better speeds, and improve customer experience. Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work with us to build the 5G economy.”
The firm announced it will partner with leading UK businesses, spanning the construction, retail, transport and utility sectors, to “explore innovative 5G use cases.”
These use cases are expected to deliver “substantial” business benefits by improving efficiency and unlocking new 5G enabled revenue streams for organisations and businesses across the country.
“O2 is working in partnership with British industry, encouraging businesses, big and small, to engage with the possibilities of 5G technology through both our testbed programme and launch deployment,” Evans explained.
“5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improve customer experience,” he added. “Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work with us to build the 5G economy.”
O2 is also creating 5G innovation spaces across the country, including in its Wayra accelerator hubs. These spaces, the company said, will provide “next-generation 5G test environments accessible to businesses of all sizes” alongside the national launch.